Making the Most of Business Conversation

I’m currently listening to Dare to Lead by Brené Brown. Although I always take away great nuggets from her work, one recently stood out and struck me as particularly brilliant, “Be clear, be kind. Be unclear, be unkind.”  Although I had to process the statement to fully grasp the concept, once I did, I thought about the impact it would have in future conversations, personally and professionally.

I’m pretty sure we can recall a conversation with either a colleague or friend in which the more the person talked, the more confused we became. I’m a “get to the point” kind of person and don’t like camouflaged conversation. There’s nothing more frustrating than someone coming in to your office and beating around the bush and moving the conversation at a sloth-like pace. Completely irritating.

Confronting someone or being honest with someone when they’ve made a misstep or blown a big account is hard. But not confronting it head on and moving on is even harder. It’s unfair to the employer, employee or friend and it overfills your frustration cup making productive interaction more difficult. Being clear and concise is kind. Being unclear and confusing is unkind. If you’re not being clear, you’re not being honest with the person by giving them feedback they need to be better. Further, you’re not giving them an opportunity to improve, and that is unkind.

Being clear is truly kind, no matter the difficulty of the topic. No one likes confrontation of any kind, but if faced with it, being clear makes the next step apparent. Being unclear doesn’t allow for next steps, simply confusion and frustration.

It’s been said that the art of communication is the language of leadership. I think the art of CLEAR communication impacts language of leadership. Next time you meet with a friend or colleague over an issue that might be uncomfortable, do you choose to be clear and kind or unclear and unkind? The latter will not remove the debris that stands in the way of progress. I think that’s pretty clear.

Make it a great day,

Back to: President's Corner